In case you missed it, the Red Sox stood pat at Wednesday’s trading deadline, meaning no new reinforcements from the outside will be added to Boston’s 25-man roster.
Given the club’s inconsistent play as of late, especially out of the bullpen, that news, or lack of news, upset a great deal of Red Sox fans.
That being the case because as of right now, the Sox are on the outside looking in in the American League playoff picture, as they sit 10 games behind the New York Yankees for first place in the American League East and 2 1/2 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the second American League wild card spot.
So, with that information, one had to figure that president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski would make a move to solidify his bullpen or something to that effect.
But, as already mentioned, the deadline came and went and nothing came of it.
“Realistically, we’re probably playing first for a wild card spot,” Dombrowski said in a press conference Wednesday. “We’re playing for a one-game wild card. You look at that a little bit differently as far as what you’re willing to do and the risks you’re willing to take.”
If the Red Sox were closer to first place in the division though, Dombrowski’s approach to the deadline may have been different, saying that, “I think if we were closer to first place, I would have been more open-minded to some of the other things.”
Part of the reason why Boston is not closer to first place does fall on Dombrowski. He had an adequate amount of time to find replacements for both Joe Kelly and Craig Kimbrel over the offseason, and acquiring Colten Brewer from the San Diego Padres was the only move made.
Through 109 games this season, the Red Sox bullpen ranks seventh in the American League in ERA (4.54), seventh in innings pitched (414 1/3), sixth in batting average against (.243), 10th in WHIP (1.40), and second in blown saves (19).
It hasn’t all fell on them this year, but it is clear that the group of relievers the Red Sox have compiled does not stack up well against what clubs such as the Yankees or Houston Astros have put together.
Building a competent bullpen has always been thought of as one of Dombrowski’s weaknesses as an executive, even going back to his Detroit Tigers days.
The way money was allocated over the winter may play into Boston’s bullpen struggles as well, as more than $23 million was committed to Nathan Eovaldi and Steve Pearce alone for this season, eventually leading to Dombrowski having very little room to work with in trying to stay under the luxury tax threshold.
All and all, 2019 has not been a banner year for the reigning World Series champions. But, they are the defending World Series champions for a reason.
Yes, Dombrowski aided the Red Sox in notching their fourth World Series title since the turn of the century with the moves he made last July and even before that.
Nathan Eovaldi, J.D. Martinez, Steve Pearce, David Price, and Chris Sale were all either signed or acquired under Dombrowski’s watch since taking over as president of baseball operations in 2015. Each of those five players played a key role during that World Series run.
Since Dombrowski’s first full season as president of baseball operations in 2016, the Red Sox have won three straight division titles for the first time in franchise history and capped that stretch off with a historic 2018 campaign.
So, I get that if the season ended on Thursday, the Red Sox would be out of the postseason. I get that that is not a good look given how this team’s competitive window should still be open. But, what I can not understand is the rationale behind wanting to fire Dombrowski.
The architect behind the 2018 team? Red Sox fans want to him run him out of town? Less than a year after winning the World Series? That is something I simply can’t get behind.